Winter holidays are overflowing with excitement. Yummy foods sit on every counter, and Christmas trees loaded with glittery ornaments make the home fragrant. But all these joys can turn into health disasters for pets. In an exclusive interview, Woods Humane Shelter’s Director of Marketing and Community Programs Steve Kragenbrink offered tips for keeping your pets healthy and happy this holiday season.
“In general, I always ask folks to pause….and consider their pets NOW as they start to think about the holiday season and begin making arrangements for travel and/or guests and parties,” said Steve.
If you’ve ever seen a tiny kitten try to climb an enormous Christmas tree, you know that ornaments plus pets can equal disaster.
“Supervision is always the first step…however, cats will be cats and a new tree placed inside a cat’s territory is a temptation that can hardly be resisted,” said Steve. “That said, one of the easiest things that people can do is to ensure that their trees are secured to their bases with additional wire (to prevent them being knocked over). Ornaments and lights are additional temptations and should be placed strategically to prevent cats from “attacking” them. Sacrifices occasionally must be made in life and when you have a cat, you should forgo the use of tinsel as it can be ingested which potentially creates an emergency situation that can require surgery.”
Do you love having extra people over for the holidays? Be careful when it comes to introducing shy pets to new people, advises Steve.
“It is important to provide our pets with quiet (and familiar) areas to retreat into. Our pets should have the opportunity (choice) to meet a group of people or not. And if they are of the shy type of animal, it is always best to leave introductions to their terms. It is also important to let our guests know the house rules as it relates to our pets,” he said.
- Check gates and front doors when people come and go to ensure that they are tightly secured.
- Ask guests not to feed table scraps to your pets.
- Be clear about appropriate play.
Tips For Pet Gifts
When it comes to giving presents to your pets, it’s not always easy to figure out what might appeal. And that’s especially true when it comes to finicky cats. So I asked Mr. Inky Mewster to provide his purr-fect perspective on his own favorite gifts.
- Mr. Mewster likes ping-pong balls. However, be warned: This requires the human to play the role of retrieve and toss, and ping-pong balls end up under sofas, chairs and beds, where the human (not the cat) must hunt in order to start a new game.
- While Mr. Mewster is an indoor cat, he loves to peek out the window. How to make it easier? The Kitty Sill Bolster Bed from Petsmart does the trick.
- I wish I could say that Mr. Mewster uses a cat scratching post. But although he has three from which to choose, he refuses to use any of them.
- Get more kitty gift tips from Mr. Mewster by clicking here.